MLB postseason predictions


Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta reacts after throwing his first career no-hitter during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Cubs won 2-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Ji-Ho Lee

Game 163 is officially here. The grueling marathon of the regular season has led to the final sprint that is the famed month of October. After the conclusion of a season that offered miraculous plays, outstanding performances and skyscraping bombs, the teams that are advancing have been officially announced, and all that remains are the games themselves. Here are the predictions for the 2015 Major League Baseball playoffs:
National League:
Wild Card:
Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64) vs. Chicago Cubs (97-65)
An exciting and rare occassion, as the second and third best teams in the Major Leagues face each other in the first game of the National League playoffs. Two bonafide aces face off, as Gerrit Cole takes the bump for the Pirates and Cy Young contender Jake Arrieta throws for the Cubs.  The game will shape up to be the pitchers duel it was scouted to be, but the talented rookies for the Cubs will break through against Cole in the late innings. In the end, the PNC Park scoreboard will read 3-1 in favor of Chicago.
Division Series:
St. Louis Cardinals (100-62) vs. Chicago Cubs (97-65)
A veteran Cardinals team faces the young Cubs squad in a rivalry series that doubles as the NLDS. Both teams boast clutch hitting and solid starting pitching, keeping the games close. The injury-plagued Cardinals manage to squeak out wins, and. as was the case in the regular season, the Cubs’ bullpen proves to be the downfall of the team. The Cardinals take the series in six games.
Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) vs. New York Mets (90-72)
East and west collide as the bonafide stars of Los Angeles take on the young cannons and veteran sluggers of New York. In the series, the Mets’ young power arms simply overpower the Dodgers bats. Although the Dodgers manage to squeak out wins behind clutch performances from Kershaw and Greinke, Harvey, deGrom and company push the Mets to another chance at a miracle. Despite the close count, the Mets pitchers prove to be dominant in a seven game series victory.
Conference Series:
St. Louis Cardinals (100-62) vs. New York Mets (90-72)
Despite the talent that stands on top of the hill for the Mets, the Cardinals’ match them with veteran sluggers. Although the final scores are extremely close, the Mets starting pitching proves to be too dominant. The Cardinals salvage one game, but the Mets pitching, and clutch hitting sparked by new pickup Yoenis Cespedes, manage to squeak out game after game, and are victorious in the series by a  4-1 count.
American League:
Wild Card:
New York Yankees (87-75) vs. Houston Astros (86-76)
Similar to its counterpart, the American League Wild Card Game featuring Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees and Dallas Keuchel, pitching off three days rest, for the Astros. The difference, however, are the bats, not the arms. Tanaka has his way with the strikeout-prone Astros batting order in the early innings, and Keuchel dominates the pinstripe sluggers. The three days rest, however, causes Keuchel to make mistakes, and the Yankees take advantage. When all is said and done, both pitchers offer stellar performances, but Tanaka’s stamina outlasts the Astros. The Yankees win an exciting game 5-2.
Kansas City Royals (95-63) vs. New York Yankees (87-75)
Last years American League champions have little trouble against the Yankees. New York, after being forced to use their ace to even get to the divisional series, cannot respond to the Royals’ starting pitching and aggressive bats. Kansas City’s bats come alive in Game 1, forcing an early call to the bullpen. The Yanks cannot recover from Game 1, and the mediocre backside of the Royals starting staff is able to give the bats just enough help. The Royals take the series in dominating fashion, sweeping the Yankees.
Toronto Blue Jays (95-63) vs. Texas Rangers (88-74)
The hottest team in baseball faces the second hottest team in baseball, as the sluggers of Toronto face the scrappy Rangers. In this series, however, one team emerges as the clear dominating force. The Blue Jays’ bats are simply too much, as Bautista, Encarnacion and the rest of the Jays pummel the mediocre Rangers pitching staff. Cole Hamels is unable to perform in the spotlight, and the Jays take advantage of a mediocre Rangers pitching staff, sweeping Texas in the series.
Kansas City Royals (95-63) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (95-63)
In a series of identical records, the Blue Jays out slug the Royals and the Blue Jays pitchers outthrow the Royals arms. Although Johnny Cueto and Yordano Ventura put together decent performances, they are outdueled by David Price and Marcus Stroman.  The outstanding Royals bullpen doesn’t get the opportunity to shine, as the Blue Jays pummel the Royals 4-1.
World Series:
New York Mets (100-62) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (95-63)
Two teams, historically familiar, but recent strangers to the Fall Classic, clash in a battle of star pitching of the Mets and the power hitting of the Jays.  The difference, however, is the unnoticed aspect of the teams. In the series, the Jays pitching proves to be just a little too good for the Mets revamped offense. Stellar pitching from the Mets keeps each game close, and New York is able to salvage wins behind dominant pitching. But at the conclusion of the season, the Toronto sluggers prove to crack the code of the Mets pitching staff. The Blue Jays win the series 4-2.
Photo used with permission from the Associated Press